Obamacare hearing sparks debate amongst lawmakers
Lawmakers held the first public hearing about the problems with the Affordable Care Act website Thursday.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee questioned contractors who designed the healthcare.dot.gov website about problems with logging in, lengthy delays, and incorrect information relayed to insurance companies.
Officials from the four contractors said they didn’t fully test the insurance marketplace until two weeks before it opened, and the government launched it despite their warnings.
The contractors said a last minute change by the administration – to require consumers to register before they browse – was another major problem.
Since Oct. 1, people have had trouble logging in and experienced extremely long wait times. The site initially crashed with so many people trying to register at once.
“We were promised a website where people could easily compare plans and costs,” said Pennsylvania Rep. Tim Murphy. “$500 million later we find the American public have been dumped with the ultimate cash for clunkers except they had top pay the cash and still got the clunker.”
Republicans also want the Secretary of Health and Human Services to resign.
“The majority of people calling for me to resign, I would say, are people who I don’t work for and who do not want this program to work in the first place.” said Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services Secretary. “I have had frequent conversations with the President and I have committed with him that my role is to get the program up and running and we will do just that.”
At least two lawmakers threatened a subpoena to force the White House to release documents related to the cost and performance of the website.
In a letter to Sebelius, the House Oversight Committee gave her department until 5 p.m. Monday to turn over the information.